What is a boil? Get insights on the meaning and about what causes boils on different parts of your body such as face, buttocks, thighs and other parts. You will also learn more on the symptoms of this skin condition.
What is a Boil – Meaning
A boil is also known as furuncle, is a painful and pus filled bump that develops deep into the skin. It results from an infection of the hair follicle by bacterium staphylococcus aureus. Two or more hair follicles can get infected resulting to a cluster of boils within the same area known as carbuncles. This skin condition can affect any part of your body but it is common on the face, thighs, buttocks, legs and back.
Furuncles usually starts as a small red and tender bump on your skin. It becomes filled up with pus and dead skin tissues to form a painful swollen area on your skin. The more it swells the more it becomes painful. It may take several days to grow before bursting to ooze. Generally, a boil may take one to two weeks to heal completely. Small boils by heal without leaving a scar while bigger boil may cause scarring.
Carbuncles usually affects men more than women, it usually starts like a single boil and eventually spreads to the surrounding areas to form several boils. It may form on big swelling that has several drainage openings. This skin condition is contagious and it can easily spread to other parts of your body or other family members and friends if you fail to take good care of it.
A lot of care is needed when taking care of a boil at home. You may be tempted to get rid of it fast by squeezing but it is not advisable to do so. Pricking or squeezing may spread the infections to other parts of your body and delay the healing process.
You may be required to visit your doctor if the boil is extremely painful, takes longer than two weeks to heal or when it causes severe symptom like fever according to mayoclinic. The doctor has enough skin on how to treat a boil. You may be given some medication that relieves the pain. You may also be given other treatments that avoids this skin condition from recurring.
Individuals who are suffering from chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes or those who are taking immunosuppressive medication are supposed to visit their doctors right away in case they are infected with boils. Weak immune system that results from various diseases and medication may be a risk factor for the formation of boils and carbuncles.
A boil may form on any part of your skin. It normally starts as a hard, swollen and painful bump that may form on the face, neck, buttocks, armpits or other hair-bearing areas on your body. It increases in size over the next 4-5 day, becomes softer and more painful. It becomes filled up with pus and other dead tissues of the skin.
A yellow or white pointed tip forms at the center or on the top of the boil when it is nearing to burst and drain. Furuncles may vary in size ranging from as small as a pie-sized to as big as golf ball depending on what causes boils. The more the bigger it becomes the more the pain it causes. In a severe infection, you are likely to experience the following symptoms:
- Fever develops
- The skin around the boil becomes red, swollen and painful
- Formation of other boils around the original one
- The lymph nodes near the affected areas becomes swollen
- A painful red pea-size pump that increases in size over a few days develops
- Development of a white or yellow tip on the raised bump that eventually raptures to allow the pus drain
A boil normally heals on its own or with little treatment within two weeks. This skin condition may take less or longer time to heal depending with the cause. You may take care of a single boil while at home. You may be required to visit your doctor under the following conditions:
- when more than one boil forms in the same area
- severe symptoms such as extreme pain and excessive swelling
- when it causes fever
- when it has taken more than two weeks without healing
- when it form on the face especially near the eye
- Recurs on the same or different parts of your body
What Causes Boils
Boils and carbuncles are caused by the following:
Most of the boils on your skin are caused by a germ known as staphylococcal bacteria. This germ is harmlessly present on your skin and nose lining. It may infect one or more hair follicles which results to development of boils. Your body immune system responds to the bacteria by releasing the white blood cells to fight the infection. Over the next few days, the dead blood cells, dead skin tissues and dead bacteria accumulates inside the boil to form a pus.
A carbuncle develops when the infection spreads to the neighboring hair follicles. They normally develop deeper into the skin tissues. There are various factors that may result to a bacterial infection that may cause boils. They include the following:
- Cuts and small injuries
Boils may tend to occur when the bacteria enters your body through small cuts on the skin surface. The areas that experiences friction such as the buttocks, groin and armpits may develop small cracks that allows the bacteria to get through. Such areas are more prone to boils and carbuncles. According to live strong.
- poor hygiene
Poor body hygiene may also cause the formation of boils according to the research done by Mount Sinai medical center. When dead skin cells and dirty accumulates on the skin surface, they give the bacteria an ample condition to multiply. The combination of bacteria, dead skin cells and dirty may invade through the hair follicle to form a boil.
- Skin conditions
Certain skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis that is a chronic form of eczema causes inflammation of the skin. This condition causes the skin to become defenseless against bacterial infections. It causes the skin to lack a protective layer of oil that provides a barrier on the skin. Scratching the skin due to an itchy feeling may also create cracks that allows the bacteria to get through into the skin.
- Family history
Family history of boils is also believed to be among what causes boils on the body. If you are taking antibiotic or you have been hospitalized for various conditions like anemia or diabetes, you are therefore likely to develop boils and carbuncles. Individuals with such chronic conditions are likely to develop various skin lesions according to Wikipedia.
- Ingrown hairs
Some of the boils that forms on hair bearing areas like the neck, face, armpit and thighs are likely to be caused by an ingrown hair. The hair that grows under the skin may block the hair follicles. Sebum and dead skin cells may accumulate behind the clogged pores and may develop into a boil when they get infected with a bacteria.
Although anyone can get boils, but there are various factors that may increase the chances of developing this skin condition. Some of the factors includes the following:
- Chronic diseases like diabetes make it difficult for your body to fight bacterial infections that causes boils and other infections. Recurring boils may also be one of the symptoms of diabetes.
- Weak immune system. Weakened immune systems as a result of diseases like HIV and Aids, cancer among other and long term use of corticosteroids drugs increases the risk of developing boils and carbuncles.
- Other skin conditions. There are various skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis that increases the chances of developing boils. Scratching your body due to irritation caused by such conditions results to breakage of the skin that allows the bacteria to get through into the skin.
- Direct body contact with an infected person. You are likely to develop boils when you become in contact with a person suffering from this skin condition.
- Tight clothing. Wearing tight clothing is also among the possible risk factors that results to what causes boils on inner thighs and other parts. They causes friction with the skin that may cause breakage of the skin to allow a bacterial infection.
Boils on Face Causes
Although you can get a boil on any parts of your body but a boil on the face is very visible and it may even change the appearance of your face. The face is a very sensitive part of your body and the formation of a boil on this part may be very painful. You may employ some of the boils on face home remedy to relieve the pain or by visiting a doctor for treatment.
Boils are commonly caused by a bacterial infection. The bacteria known as staphylococcal that is found on the skin may cause this condition when it enters into the skin. People may not know that they are caring this germ as is harmless under the normal skin condition. A tiny break in the skin that results from insect bites, shaving, excessive friction from exfoliation and ingrown hairs can allow the bacteria to enter the skin of your face.
All the boils may not result from a bacteria entering your skin, an infection that develops beneath your skin may also cause this condition. Dead skin cells, dead bacteria, dead white blood cells and dirty may accumulate beneath the skin on the face to form a boil.
Boils on Inner Thigh and Legs
Boils is among the skin condition that has affected almost everyone. They may develop on any part of your body including the thigh and legs. Formation of boils on this two parts causes a lot of discomfort. It may cause difficulties in movements especially the lymph nodes becomes swollen.
Bacterial infection is the major reason to what causes boils on inner thighs and legs among other parts of your body. Tiny breaks that results from the friction of the skin and clothing, shaving and ingrown hair allows the germ to enter into the skin on your thighs and legs to cause an infection.
This condition can be treated by visiting a health care provider especially when it is severe. A single boil can be treated at home by applying a hot compress over the boil. It helps in relieving the pain and the discomfort. However, it is advisable to prevent the boil by applying the following methods:
- Keeping the wounds, cuts, and grazes disinfected and covered
- Practicing good hygiene by bathing and showering regularly
- Washing hands regularly using antibacterial soap
- Taking a balanced diet and exercising regularly
- Taking good care of cuts and scratches on your skin